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Judith Reports Back: Her 2 Week Retirement Tour of South Carolina

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

Editor’s Note: Back in September we published our “10 Best Places to Retire in South Carolina” article. Its very first Comment was from Judith. She wrote that she was about to leave on a 2 week tour, and even promised to write up a report of her travels. She lived up to her promise (Thanks Judith!), and here is her report. Note that we have added a few comments from other Topretirements members at the bottom of some of the cities to try to give even more dimension. We just love these in-person reports – nothing better!

By Judith
October 30, 2016 — I did a two week tour of South Carolina from Sept. 21 to Oct. 6, and it’s taken me two more weeks to get on top of all my home chores after such a long absence. Laundry, email, you know. But it’s a quiet Saturday morning now, and I have time to put down my thoughts, for those who asked.

Travelers Rest: I entered the state of South Carolina on the freeway from Asheville, NC, which allowed me to pass through Travelers Rest. I was charmed! Loved the tall pines and rolling hills. Just beautiful. I must return for a second look.

Greenville. Would have been perfect perhaps 10 years ago, but it’s gotten so big now and so complex. Success has been not only a friend but also an enemy. If only there were a magic wand to go “POOF!” and erase everything built over the last few years. I’m just too late to the party on Greenville. And I’m sad, because I can see what it used to be.

(Comment from Marianne: I drove over to Greenville after visiting my daughter in Birmingham back in August. I was very impressed with the downtown even though I encountered rain all weekend. I did find traffic to be more than I had hoped for.)

(Comment from Paulette: My husband and I just retired here to Greenville from Minneapolis. I grew up here and have such wonderful memories. We bought a home of a manageable size near the downtown and can walk everywhere. We love it!)

(Comment from Brad: My wife and I spent about 4 days in the Greenville, SC area a few months ago. Greenville is a great city that has a beautiful downtown area. Several businesses lining the streets along with the trees. The city spent 13.4 million to create the Falls Park where the Reedy River runs through. Walking paths and flowers add to the beauty of this area while you can enjoy the beautiful falls views. The downtown seemed easy enough to navigate through. Several cultural opportunities, and other things to do. If you go to the outskirts of town, you will find anything, and I do mean anything you would want concerning businesses, stores, restaurants, etc. We loved it! however, we are looking at some of the smaller communities outside of town, but within close distance of Greenville. We are not city folk but would like to be within reach of all that Greenville has to offer.)

Clemson

Clemson

Clemson was a side-trip from Greenville. I loved the college campus and little town. Really liked it a lot. I’m going to go back when I make another trip to the state.

Lake Keowee: This was a side-trip from Clemson. I was really disappointed. I expected to see lots of waterfront properties and pretty lake views, but instead I saw a man-made reservoir that just was not attractive. Drove as far as White Harbor and cut my losses. Waste of time. If you know differently, please educate me. Keep in mind, this was only a quick look.

(Comment from Ron: Lake Keowee is a beautiful lake surrounded by Nothing. The lake is about an hour drive from route 85 and one hour plus from Greenville the nearest civilization. I do not like the huge Nuke plant in the center of the lake area but maybe that is just me. If you like rural living far away from civilization this is the place.)

Aiken

Aiken

Aiken: Absolutely loved Aiken. Rolling hills, pretty vistas, very adorable old-timey main street downtown. Also has all the shopping and medical I would want. I’m not a horse person, but nonetheless felt I could fit in there. I didn’t see a single soul walking around in riding gear, and I had been led to believe it was that kind of town. My main objective in Aiken was to explore the Woodside Plantation community, which I could not have entered unless with a realtor. I stopped at Coldwell Banker and a lovely woman (Patti) spent two hours driving me around W.P. and Aiken. I could be quite content to live in this town. Negatives? Well, I’ve thought about it, and here’s what I think. It’s isolated. Is that good or bad? Both. Will friends and family go “Ugh!” at the thought of just getting there? Or would I feel that way when wanting to fly anywhere? Worth thinking about. But the good part about being isolated is that there’s less chance of rapid growth like what happened to Greenville.

Summerville: Way more spread out than I had imagined for a town that size. With the exception of the area around the freeway interchange, it’s pretty, with tall trees everywhere. There was an Italian festival going on downtown, where I hear there’s always something interesting going on. Wide variety of housing types and prices. My budget is in the 300’s or less, so no problem finding lots of candidates. Seems like a real nice community. I lean towards living in a community where I would be a “member.” That might be a 55+ place like Cresswind at the Ponds, or an all-ages like Summers Corner or Carnes Crossing on the other side of I-26. Or even a more middle-class neighborhood like Trillium (around 200K), where the houses all have front porches and the garages are in a rear alley. There’s a community pool, but I don’t know if there’s clubs and activities for seniors. I really liked Summerville. A top contender.

(Comment from Jack about Summerville: Chose Summerville because of closeness to downtown Charleston, the beaches, the island towns, taxes, 3 hours to mountains and general pleasantness. Yes, it is hot in the summer, but because Summerville is “higher” ground than the ” Low Country” surrounding us there are no mosquitos. Always a breeze and blows them away.)


Beaufort: On the drive from Summerville to Beaufort, all of a sudden the terrain switched very dramatically. I came out of the forest and into the swamp. From tall trees to low scrub. Visually I found that lacking in appeal. And I’m not interested in sailing. I toured Celadon, a new-traditional development in Ladys Island just a few minutes from central Beaufort. The homes are like those in Summers Corner– love this style and will try to buy this type of home. What concerned me about Celadon is that the neighborhood is entirely shrouded by a mossy tree canopy. I like a lot of light in my home, and as much as I loved this neighborhood I feel that I’d become depressed with all the shade. I know it would be a plus with summer heat, but I fear the gloomy feeling the rest of the year. Hated to cross this one off, but I know myself. Took a quick drive through CitiWalk and it’s just too small. Would not offer anything for seniors looking for a feeling of community.

(Comment from pschmidt: Beaufort reminds me of a river town of long gone era..Beautiful with shops restaurants and water..I can see why it has a top rating as far as livability..You not only can live in a old charming town with lots to do(Festivals, arts etc) and you are so close to many interesting places of which you can drive to within a couple hours…Charleston(35 minutes) Hilton Head(30 minutes) Savannah (35 minutes) Jacksonville (2 hours) and Myrtle Beach (2 hours)…Crime is high in my opinion in the area of tourist crime (break in of cars)and theft.. Very little violent crime that I can see…Overall to us a perfect area…Oh did I mention the food..Come see and enjoy)

Bluffton: Big boulevards, you drive for miles and miles to get anywhere. I made time to drive through Hampton Lake, and it was probably a good fit for me in terms of lifestyle. (I loved the fantastic pool and clubhouse facilities.) Homes more expensive than comparables in Summerville, but about the same as Celadon in Beaufort. I spent the evening in old town Bluffton, which was a lot smaller than I’d expected. I got the feeling that it’s a tourist kind of downtown. Overall, it was hard to figure out where I’d fit in Bluffton. I liked the look and feel of the town, but didn’t see enough to even know what I’m talking about here. So don’t put much stock in my opinion here. I liked it enough to go back, I’ll say that. One thing to note is that it’s only 30 min to the Savannah airport. Also, the new branch of Univ South Carolina Beaufort is right there in Bluffton. I wanted to drive through Del Webb Hilton Head, so I tailgated my way through the security gate and drove through really quickly (I felt guilty!!). It’s pretty, and I’d definitely make time on a return trip to give it a proper look. It’s also pretty large, meaning there’d be tons of activities for seniors. One negative I see online quite a bit is the heavy, heavy traffic heading in and out of Hilton Head island. They say it’s only getting worse. Something to consider.

(Comment from pschmidt: It has been 14 months since we moved here and I have to say there has never been a day that we regret our move. The people here in the area are the friendliest I have ever met. People go out of their way to help each other. Traffic is bad IF you are visiting Hilton Head Island during the summer months and trying to eat at a restaurant on the Island during tourist season will test your patience. The great part is there are fabulous places to eat in Bluffton. The prices tend to be a little better and at many places no wait time. Food is one of the BEST things about the area. You can find something for everybody. There is always something to do in the area and many places to go for a day trip. The only complaint we would have is the medical care here, one would think that with the growing population and many seniors better health care would be available. In the year I do see an improvement but many specialist you have to go to Savannah however many doctors are now coming to this area a few days a week. I suspect in the future this will be a great place for medical care also. So I would say come on down and enjoy the slow pace and beautiful area…It will be the best move you will ever make..)

Bottom line:
So that’s it, folks. I knew as soon as I got to SC that I really liked it and that this would just be a quick survey of the towns I’d discovered and liked on TopRetirements.com and Ideal-living.com. I’ll come back in about a year for round 2. I’ll rent a furnished apartment or long-term airbnb (which is what I stayed in every night of this trip) and I’ll stay at least 6 weeks. I want to return to Travelers Rest, Aiken, Clemson, Summerville, and Bluffton. A long stay will allow me time to visit Charleston and Hilton Head, places I avoided on this first trip because I’m not considering living in either one.

Editor’s note: Judith’s review is also available as a Comment in the original “10 Best Places to Retire in South Carolina” article.

Comments? Have you toured potential retirement spots in South Carolina? Please share your observations – what you liked and didn’t like – in the Comments section below.



Posted by Admin on October 30th, 2016

45 Comments »

  1. I have an addendum to my comments on Lake Keowee. I was feeling disturbed because I was sure, before my trip, that I’d seen Lake Keowee mentioned numerous times as a good candidate for retirement. Why then, did it look so ugly? So after I wrote my above post, I dug in and researched the area online. Turns out that I just didn’t go far enough up the road that day. (I was flyin’ blind because I don’t have gps or a smart phone.) There’s Keowee Springs, Keowee Falls, The Reserve, and Keowee Vineyards. All of these are quite shi-shi and very beautiful. Way too remote for me, but if you’re going to check out Lake Keowee, you need to go a lot farther up the road than I did.

    by Judith — October 30, 2016

  2. Curious to know how many of these places fared during Matthew.

    by Sandie — October 31, 2016

  3. The Del Webb community in Summerville was unscathed.
    Summerville is not in a hurricane nor flood zone.

    by Laura — October 31, 2016

  4. I wanted to thank Judith for taking the time and effort to write such a comprehensive review. I’ll give SC a closer look because of it.

    by Don — November 2, 2016

  5. Judith, I found your letter on your quick trip to SC very informative. I was disappointed to hear Greenville has become so busy and large; last time I was there 10 yrs ago, I thought it would be perfect. I am interested in the area as my Son lives north of Atlanta and it would be about one and a half hrs from him. I am 69 a and have a few medical issues, therefore it’s important to have A+ medical facilities. I may have to rethink my plans, I used to live in Fort Mill, SC and loved it but it’s too far from my Son. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
    Libby

    by Libby — November 2, 2016

  6. My husband and I retired to Hilton Head this past May and, like pschmidt, we are thrilled with our decision. Nice people everywhere, and, although it does get warm and crowded in the Summer, we don’t consider either much of a deterrent. Being in a plantation on the north end of the island, we don’t get many tourists — and, no matter how hot it gets, it doesn’t even come close to shoveling thirty inches of snow in Pennsylvania in the Winter. We like Bluffton as well. Good luck in your quest.

    by Joan Ploszay — November 2, 2016

  7. My friend and I also visited Aiken (Oct 16 -Oct 20) this year as I had read about it previously and am interested in moving from Vero Beach FL (after being here 45 years)…….looking for a change of seasons, less seasonal traffic, affordability, etc. We were both very impressed with the area, very pretty, rolling hills, winding roads, cotton fields, quaint downtown area and lots of restaurants.The landscape reminded me of my original Northeastern roots. Gorgeous estate homes surrounded by stables and horse pastures. New homes very affordable, and very friendly people everywhere you go. As far as Judith’s comment about being isolated, the state capital Columbia airport is about an hour away, and the Augusta GA airport is 20 minutes away just across the state line. This was a concern for me also, as I will be leaving my children and grands here in FL and I did not want to be more than 8 hrs driving time away or at least be near an airport. My only negative is that if you needed to do any serious clothes shopping you would need to go to Augusta Mall as the Aiken Mall is basically closing down. I was told that it is to be torn down and replaced with an open air Mall. Other than that there are lots of stores to purchase anything else that you would want besides clothing. I will make one more trip, but right now it looks like I will be moving to Aiken!

    by Diane — November 2, 2016

  8. I can’t believe there is no mention of the Charleston area. We retired a year ago to Daniel Island and love it!

    by Nicki — November 2, 2016

  9. I relocated from NJ to the Greenville area and settled in Simpsonville. It is a rural/suburban community within an easy drive to Greenville. The roads infrastructure in the Greenville area needs improvement to match the expansion, but it is coming. As was mentioned earlier, downtown Greenville is walkable and has many cultural opportunities that one can enjoy and when enough has been absorbed…then escape back to the burbs.

    by Dorothy — November 2, 2016

  10. Interesting! My wife and I took the same trip several years ago before we retired. Loved Travelers Rest! Close to Furman University and they have Osher Lifelong Learning center there for a big plus! Drove to Aiken. Loved Aiken! Homes were in our budget of under 300K. Drove to Summerville ( we bought our perfect home here- Villas at Charleston Park.) Loved it. Great schools, excellent medical facilities here ( associated with Medical University of South Carolina )
    houses we could afford. Traffic meh. Avoid I-26 before 9am and after 5pm. Close to Charleston and food and culture etc. Also, Summerville has a wonderful Farmers Market from early spring to Christmas.
    Did not like Beaufort. Downtown is a jewel. Everything else is surrounded by trailer parks. Although many of the beautiful communities on the islands surrounding Beaufort are pricey they too are surrounded by very low income housing.
    Looked at Myrtle Beach. Hated it!! Every community- many lovely communities I might add but all are on or right off Hwy 17 with their traffic and tattoo parlors, Wave stores for beach stuff and red lights every quarter mile. Also when I want to be in Myrtle Beach so do millions of others. Crowded restaurants, crowded roads, crowded beaches, no place to park to use the beach.
    Greenville is a jewel- close to Furman etc. close to Travelers Rest, P/t jobs everywhere.
    Everything Judith said is correct.
    Loved Summerville! We are here!!

    by Jack — November 2, 2016

  11. My wife and I are taking a short trip over Veterans Day weekend to look at the Bluffton and Hilton Head area and I’m wondering if anyone could recommend specific communities off of 278 to look at? Also, do any readers here have any experience or knowledge of the Spartanburg area? I’d be interested in reading your thoughts and opinions of that city as well.

    by Tim — November 2, 2016

  12. Tim. Spartanburg is very similar to Greenville, only on a smaller scale. Several fine colleges – Wofford and Converse bring educated people to the area. BMW has brought an international flavor as well to the town– as well as educated engineering types. Many choices in and around as well. North of Spartanburg you have some wonderful smaller burgs that are interesting as well – Landrum and Tryon NC a very horsey town. Many fine choices. Schools are very good and medical facilities are first rate.

    by Jack — November 2, 2016

  13. Greetings! I am 55 and on my own for the first time. Am looking for a small house in a safe community. Am on a very small income. Have been looking in Tennessee and S. Carolina – but the housing costs seem to be going up.

    Any suggestions?

    by Lynne Heslip — November 3, 2016

  14. After extensive searching from Charleston to Savannah, we bought and moved to Dataw Island, near Beaufort, last year. We are in love with the Beaufort area, it’s history, its natural beauty – yes, we adore the live oaks, the beaches, and the low-country marshlands so rich with natural wildlife, its many restaurants from fine dining at Saltus, to casual traditional Southern fare, like Plums on the waterfront. If you are looking to be near the coast, you can’t beat the 69 Sea Islands in this area! Many communities to choose from on the islands – will take days to explore them all if you are considering a look-see trip. We spent several years investigating and settled on Dataw Island for its peace, amenities, and close knit residents from all over the US who have retired here. There is so much to do that you have to reign yourself in or you will be exhausted! Hurricane Matthew took down many trees and did some damage to homes and our marina but life is returning to normal here and the weather is perfect in November!

    by SandyZ — November 3, 2016

  15. To Libby- Based on what you say about your son, I’m going to suggest you explore the retirement communities in northern and central GA. Go to the Georgia page on this website and take the time to study each and every one of them online. I think you’ll be glad you did.

    by Judith — November 3, 2016

  16. To Nikki- I actually did mention Charleston, at the very end of my first post. I said I had avoided it on my two-week trip because I knew I didn’t want to live there. Actually, I should not have used the words “didn’t want to.” I had done lots of research before my trip, and I totally agree with you that you do live in paradise. If money were no object, places like Daniel Island (James, Johns, Mt. Pleasant, etc.) would have been visited. But they’re just not in my budget. I’m happy for you that they were; I’m sure you love it there.

    by Judith — November 3, 2016

  17. My husband and I are looking for a retirement home in the south on a freshwater lake which has good fishing. I have a single sculling boat, so a lake with motor limits would be nice. We are also looking for the usual things like good access to excellent healthcare and cultural activities. Anyone have an idea?

    by Judy — November 3, 2016

  18. I tend to avoid those areas that are prone to Hurricanes and flooding Charleston is a prime example of an area hit by both.
    With Global warming causing the sea temps to rise I am always looking at the elevation of the property to determine a place to live.
    Miami for example is currently installing pumps to try to stop the flooding that is occurring daily there. Property values will fall to zero as the water levels continue to rise. In many costal areas and they are forcasting increased hurricane activity. These facts are currently causing mandatory insurance premiums to skyrocket in these areas.
    Most of Florida and many areas pf Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina are also raising rates over 25% per years to many thousands of dollars and that is if you can qualify to get insurance.

    Before you think that this is something way out in the future you are wrong. North Carolina recently got hit by a minor Hurricane and it flooded areas never flooded in 150 years. Folks be very careful about looking at property that is beautiful today but could be under water in the next few years.

    To those of you that are deniers I have some prime property to offer you !

    by Ron — November 3, 2016

  19. To Ron, Yes, I agree with you. Buyer beware! I have lived on the coast all of my life, but made the decision a few months ago to move. Am now going inland, out of state. Have dealt with 6 hurricanes too many here in FL, and I am still cleaning up after Matthew which brushed by us a few weeks ago. Not to mention the high cost of homeowners insurance, and going up every year!

    by Diane — November 3, 2016

  20. To Lynne….I have seen new construction homes in several SC towns, small 3/2/2 starting in the $150,000 and up price range in nice areas on the internet. SC has a low cost of living, also.

    by Diane — November 3, 2016

  21. Lynne
    Take a look at the retirement communities pages on this website for more info on the states you’re interested in. The Forum too may offer additional comments.

    by Moderator Flo — November 4, 2016

  22. Note to Judith and John, Come back You missed a jewel….!!!!! Seabrook Island SC. adjacent to Kiawah Island.
    Seabrook is a gorgeous island right on the Atlantic next to more well known/pricey Kiawah which is all about golf.
    Seabrook the less pricey cousin has golf but so much more…. A beautiful lake house with outdoor& indoor pool. It also includes a well equipped gym, library, spaces for meetings/ hobbies & classes like yoga and tai chi. How about Personal Trainers and an on-site Massage therapist?.What else? A full equestrian center where you can ride in the marshes and on the beach!, A wonderful tennis center that hosts major SE tournaments. Ocean side dining while watching the dolphins! Over 100 clubs and organizations… Painting, Photograhy, Nature Conservancy. Field trips of every genre, Cooking and book clubs, bird watching, dog lover groups and numerous opportunities to give back through Habitat, After school and healthcare groups that focus on giving back. I bought a marsh side condo and can’t wait to be there full time!!!!!! Great rental income in the meantime! Check out Seabrook!!!!!!

    by Sue — November 4, 2016

  23. Diane and Moderator Flo – Thank you for your replies. Love this forum…….so many nice people and such great knowledge and advice! Many thanks!

    by Lynne — November 4, 2016

  24. Sue,

    What is the name of the community you describe in Seabrook Island SC? Is in a flood zone?
    We currently live in Greenville but are researching the SC coast.

    Thanks!

    Fionna

    by Fionna — November 5, 2016

  25. Seabrook Island is the name of the community which is located on Johns Island south of Charleston. It’s next door to Kiawah Island, the upscale golf resort.

    by Staci — November 5, 2016

  26. Seabrook Island–
    Fiona is right. It is beautiful with lots of great activities. What she doesn’t mention though is that property owners are required to join the “club” with initiation fees, monthly dues and dining minimums. There is also some dissention between property owners (mostly non-residents) and the POA board. Flood insurance is required for most properties. I’d be interested in what her flood insurance is.

    by Florence — November 5, 2016

  27. Lynne,
    Using our Advanced Search you can select criteria that is important to you in finding communities. You can choose Towns, Cost of Living, Type of Community, and Amenities. A list of our communities that meet your preferences will be be generated for you after making your selections and hitting the GO button.
    http://www.topretirements.com/Browse.html

    Another tool you will find helpful is our Retirement Ranger Quiz. After answering just a few questions, a personalized list of communities will be sent to your email address.
    http://www.topretirements.com/retirementranger.html

    by Jane at Topretirements — November 5, 2016

  28. Judith, great information. I, too am searching in the $300,000 range. Did anyplace in particular impress you re wildlife? I’ve looked at new home sights and was discouraged by loss of nature in the areas. Would like to better zero in my viewing area. Thanks again for all your info.

    by Jeanne — November 6, 2016

  29. To Jeanne- Perhaps Travelers Rest would come out on top on the wildlife scale. I say that because that’s where the ratio of undeveloped land to developed land is the highest. But that’s just an off-the-cuff answer, what seems logical to me. Can you set aside some time to drive yourself around your areas of interest?

    by Judith — November 7, 2016

  30. i am relieved it was not me they were looking for as i already live in sc, lol. i did however think the writer skipped many areas of south carolina that should be considered. she totally wrote off the coastal towns from myrtle beach to charleston. there are many, she didnt mention the camden area which is also lovely and akin to aiken. it looks like she skipped the mountains in northern part of the state where there are many parks and waterfalls and close to civilization. i thought is was not a well thought out researched representation of south carolina.

    by judith — November 10, 2016

  31. I don’t think the article was meant to be a representation of the entire state, but just a report on her areas of possible interest. IMHO, the article was great and very informative.

    by Staci — November 11, 2016

  32. A great article Judith. I am sure glad you took time to share your impressions and views of the places you were interested.

    by DeyErmand — November 12, 2016

  33. Thank you, Staci and Dey.

    by Judith — November 12, 2016

  34. I know this seems unheard of on this Blog, but we’ve never been to SC or NC. We tried to visit the last two years in Spring or Fall. But have been stopped by floods, hurricanes, ice, and now fire. I know it’s been an unusual year. When is a good time to visit? Not the humid Summer I hope. This is starting to become a Bucket List item. Don’t plan to move just see what you all see.

    by SandySW — November 15, 2016

  35. SandySW, let me tell you a story… :<) In Sept 1996, I was in London, UK, on business, when Hurricane Fran slammed into NC. One local news source said: "It was arguably the worst hurricane to ever hit North Carolina". The news was all over the media (CNN Intl especially). I heard nothing from home. I tried to call and the lines were down (no cell at that time). CNN said that NC had been destroyed. I was rather extremely worried and, rather than stay the extra three days touring Wales as planned, I got the earliest plane home. On my return I found my wife and mother (who lived with us at the time) and my home were fine — basically untouched (one huge oak fell in the woods). My community was almost untouched except for some fallen trees, though everyone lost power for about a week. My daughter and her family 40 miles east of us in Raleigh were fine as were almost all residents. Raleigh and eastward had hundreds of downed trees. East of I-95, there was massive damage and flooding which cost millions of dollars. By the holiday season, almost everything had been cleaned up and mostly restored. Don't misunderstand — the impact was horrendous and affected some people's lives for years, but the media reports dramatically overstated the impact. Parts of coastal NC had been heavily damaged, but the state was far from being destroyed.

    Those reports have come at every major hurricane (and some minor ones). I've lived in NC since 1962 and I find the whole concept that people are afraid to move to NC and SC because of "the hurricanes and tornadoes" to be absolutely laughable. In no way am I diminishing the level of fear and damage experienced by those who bore the brunt — they have had my sympathy and our help. But my advice is to not let media reports stop you from visiting. In the immediate aftermath, you may see some unfortunate results from one of these storms for weeks or even months but, frankly, if you travel in those parts, the folks could use the influx of revenue. (Don't rush in immediately unless your are ready and willing to lend direct assistance, but for most areas given even just a few weeks, life goes back to near normal.)

    by Rich — November 16, 2016

  36. Shopping for both Seabrook and Kiawah Islands is conveniently located at two locations; Freshfields Village (www.freshfieldsvillage.com) and the Bohicket Marina (www.bohicket.com). Each location is just a few minutes drive from either island.

    by Bob Slang — November 16, 2016

  37. Rich, I have the same thoughts about CA earthquake reports. It always sounds as if the entire state bit the dust while in reality, only a yucca tree in the desert fell down. To date, I’ve only lost a salt shaker in a quake while another area,100 miles away, has major freeway damage.

    We’ve tried visiting SC/NC in May, September, and October without success. Can you recommend some more neutral weather months for exploration or does it all depend on the closeness to the water?

    by SandySW — November 16, 2016

  38. :<) I hear you, Sandy, but… let's see, not in the humid months. Umm, avoid tornadoes . And eliminate hurricane season — that would be Jun to Dec with typical peak in Aug – Oct. So, honestly, I would just say “try again”. The good news is that tornadoes, hurricanes and humidity generally overlap.

    My favorite times? Late Apr – early May, and probably Oct. So you have the right idea. The only thing I can promise you is that we probably won’t fall off into the Pacific… :<)) And yes, the coastal areas including the coastal plain generally get the brunt of hurricanes.

    But Hazel (1954) pretty much wiped out the entire east coast, Hugo (1989) swept across SC and up through western NC across the mountains, Fran (1996) hit all of the eastern half of NC, Sandy (2013) again took out the eastern seaboard, and Floyd (1999) and Matthew (2016) while of lesser intensity caused some of the worst flooding ever seen in coastal NC. I mention these specifically because I had direct personal experience with all of them as well as with others (perhaps) less memorable.

    More than a yucca in the desert :<), but it's why I do understand your reluctance to rush in when a hurricane is on the way. As I said, keep trying. It really doesn't happen every year, but with global warming, honestly, the chances are increasing. (I know "global warming" is another potentially hot topic — just let me cite a report in this weeks local newscast. 16 of the hottest years ever on record have been within the past 17 years.)

    by Rich — November 17, 2016

  39. In that first line, the end got cut off — NC tornado season begins in May through about July — or when the hurricanes come in.

    by Rich — November 17, 2016

  40. Sounds like April it is in 2017. Thanks for giving it so much thought and commentary.

    by SandySW — November 17, 2016

  41. Let me add to Rich’s comments…we were new within past year to coastal SC – we enjoyed every month except August. (So we went visiting friends and family in New England then). Of course, October was stressful with the hurricane – no damage or flooding to our house – just surrounding areas. I concur that April is the BEST of all, but even a hot summer day here is far better than a bitter cold day in the winter in Maine!

    by SandyZ — November 18, 2016

  42. While the weather in spring and fall may be the best, if you’re thinking of moving somewhere it’s also important to see it at its worst!!

    by Staci — November 18, 2016

  43. For a driving vacation of 2000 miles I only want to see an area at its Best. No plans to move. But I agree, a permanent move requires a 6 -12 month stay and exposure to all weather conditions. Already done that. Now we just take vacations to other people’s retirement paradises.

    by SandySW — November 19, 2016

  44. I assume 2000 miles is a typo as CA is a touch farther. :<) But regardless, NC in April is pretty much an ideal vacation. For years I have told my wife that I don't want to go away on vacation anywhere during April. I just want to be here… Do be prepared for some cool weather — it's Spring!

    by Rich — November 20, 2016

  45. Cool is doable and preferred. We spend Winter in NM ( love the cooler weather and holiday traditions) and leave for vacation from there. Looking forward to seeing SC/NC for the first time. It’s an area we never considered until reading ALL the posts from Top Retirement. You all have researched this area more than Christopher Columbus researched the New World !!!!

    by SandySW — November 21, 2016

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